If like me, you've been sitting in the movie theatre until the credits finish rolling for the last 10 years, then the chances are you'll be excited for this movie.
Directed by the Russo Brothers, Joe & Anthony (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War), Avengers: Infinity War is the 19th entry Into the MCU and the third Avengers movie. Starring pretty much everyone who featured in the MCU so far including Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Don Cheadle, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Dave Bautista, Zoe Saldana, Josh Brolin, and Chris Pratt, Infinity War sees The Avengers join forces with The Guardians of The Galaxy to face their biggest threat yet - Thanos, the mad titan.
I've tried to keep this review as spoiler-free as possible, but if you don't want to know anything, then stop reading now. Check out the trailer below:
The movie picks up almost immediately following the ending of Thor: Ragnarok with a shocking opening sequence that sets the stakes for the rest of the movie within the first ten minutes. We are given a brutal re-introduction to Thanos & meet his henchmen, known as the Children of Thanos for the first time. They are dispatched to Earth in search of more infinity stones as the movie shifts gear & begins to catch up with the rest of our heroes.
It is extremely fast paced as the movie jumps back and forth, caching up with different groups of heroes as they prepare for the arrival of Thanos. There are some fantastic scenes here, including some hilarious comic relief with Dr Strange, Tony Stark & Bruce Banner. There is even a sequence set in Edinburgh that features one of the best shots in the entire movie where a certain hero re-emerges from the shadows in the train station.
As teased in the trailer, Thor's introduction to The Guardians is as hilarious as you would expect & he is quickly dispatched on a side mission with Rocket & teenage Groot, while the rest of The Guardians set off in search of Thanos. As the movie progresses, the groups are slowly brought together across space & the stunning Wakanda. The home of T'Challa is just as stunning as it was when we were introduced to it in this year's Black Panther movie, and it serves as a hub for The Avengers as they prepare for the arrival of Thanos himself. As seen in the trailer there is a massive battle sequence set here that is an incredible spectacle and without one of the most spectacular sequences in the MCU to date. Many of the supporting cast from this years smash movie make an appearance here and standout Shuri gives even Bruce Banner & Tony Stark a run for their money in the brains department.
I went though just about every emotion imaginable watching this movie; I laughed, I gasped, I was shocked, I was excited & I felt sadness several times - there is one moment in particular between Tony Stark & Spider-Man that is bound to set off some tears.
The score plays an absolutely fantastic part in the overall movie too - I still get chills every time I hear the Avengers theme, I think it is starting to become just as iconic as Star Wars or Jurassic Park for me. There is even a slowed down, piano key version of it that plays over a devestating scene later in the movie.
As always, there is a post credit sequence, so be sure to stay until the very end to catch it. I did think it was a little disappointing, however we do see a couple of characters we haven't seen for a while now.
I loved Avengers: Infinity War. It was everything I was expecting & more. Sure it ends with a massive cliffhanger, but it makes the wait for the untitled Avengers 4 next year even more exciting. I think that it takes it's place at the top of my MCU rankings now and I cannot wait to watch it again.
Avengers: Infinity War gets 5 out of 5 from me
Hail the King
Every so often a genre movie will come along that gets everyone talking. Last year it was Get Out, the incredible horror mystery from Jordan Peele. This year is Marvel Studios latest blockbuster - Black Panther that seems to have all the buzz.
Directed by Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station, Creed), Black Panther is the 18th movie entry into the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) & stars Chadwick Boseman in the title role, alongside Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, and Andy Serkis.
After an impressive debut in 2016's Captain America: Civil War, could Black Panther hold his own in a standalone movie? Check out the trailer below.
Following the death of his father during the events of Captain America: Civil War, T'Challa (Boseman) takes his place as king of the fictional African nation of Wakanda. The title of king of Wakanda also comes with the mantle of the superpowered Black Panther - who is the protector of the nation. Due to a meteorite collision centuries ago & the subsequent discovery of the near indestructible element vibranium, Wakanda has managed to become technologically superior to every other nation on earth - whilst continually maintaining the illusion that they are a poor farming nation. T'Challa's position is challenged by an outsider; Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) who looks to take the throne for himself & share Wakanda's secret with the world.
First up, Wakanda looks incredible - the design team have done an fantastic job in bringing it to life. It looks so otherworldly; the futuristic neon skyscrapers & high-speed trains amongst the lush African greenery - think Blade Runner meets The Lion King! The costume & set design also play a huge part in this; traditional African dress is often offset against high tech interiors with the odd traditional decoration in the background. The soundtrack is also a spectacle - Ludwig Göransson has done a wonderful job with the score & the accompanying OST by Kendrick Lamar makes for excellent listening.
Chadwick Boseman plays T'Challa/Black Panther perfectly. He brings all the gravitas & presence required for playing a character of royalty whilst maintaining a sombre gentleness needed of a role that requires him to mourn his father's death whilst being the protector of a nation. Marvel Studios rarely get the casting of their superheroes wrong & they have nailed it again here with Boseman - it's hard to imagine anyone else donning the Black Panther suit (except maybe Shuri?).
One of the biggest complaints about Marvel movies is that they tend to feature largely forgettable villains. How many really stick in your mind out with Loki, Ultron & The Winter Soldier? Thankfully, for Black Panther though, Killmonger is a rather memorable villain who is played brilliantly by the fantastic Michael B. Jordan. Erik "Killmonger" Stevens seems to start the movie as an accomplice to one of Black Panther's longtime foes; Ulysses Klaue Andy Serkis), however, as the movie progresses & through a combination of grief, anguish & rage, we get to fully understand his actions and the motive behind them. Far too often, Marvel villains are just a monster who wants to destroy the world, however, with Killmonger his motives are more contained & Jordan adds a real level of humanity to the character that is usually often missing.
As impressive as Boseman & Jordan are, for me Letitia Wright's (Black Mirror's Black Museum) Shuri steals the show. Shuri, T'Challa's younger sister also plays the role of James Bond's Q; head of Wakanda's technology department, alongside developing Black Panther's suit & weapons - a role that gives Tony Stark a run for his money. Shuri, whilst obviously a scientific genius, finds plenty of time for being sarcastic & a prankster - however, she is not afraid to fight when it comes down to it. It is a role that is played perfectly by Wright, and if you are yet to see the aforementioned episode of Black Mirror - then I urge you to do so.
Black Panther is an excellent addition to the MCU & one that quite rightly has critics & fans buzzing with delight. It looks stunning, it sounds stunning, it is filled with fantastic performances, but most of all; it is bold, unafraid to take risks & makes a cultural statement. For a movie that is director Coogler's THIRD directorial outing, Black Panther is a must-see for movie fans - whether you are invested in the MCU or not.
Overall Black Panther gets 4.5 out of 5 stars from me. Wakanda Forever.